Luxury Villas Andrew Forbes

Holiday Like A Billionaire

Indulge in a tantalising peek into the world of ultra-luxury homes of Southern Spain. This billionaire lifestyle can be yours for a cool 65,000 euro a week. These may be some of the priciest pads in Marbella, but you get to holiday like an A-Lister

Holiday Like A Billionaire

The glittering ultra-luxury villa rentals lifestyle of Marbella

Often one hears anecdotes of a golden era of the Marbella; a time in ‘60s & 70s when stars of music, stage and screen would visit Andalucía’s Mediterranean shores for highlife holidays. Well, if the tales of the luxury villa rental agencies are anything to go by, then the Costa del Sol still attracts the great and the glamorous; the bold and the beautiful; and the downright rich and extravagant.

The desire of ultra-high-net worth visitors for a home-from-home is behind an apparent insatiable appetite for extraordinary villas rentals. Marbella has some of the finest in Europe. Set back from landscaped gardens, secluded behind high walls, or safe beyond high security gates are homes that defy the imagination. Forget the quaint notion of a pretty holiday house with a maid and cook – no, we’re talking mega-villas for the super-rich.

Take a look online and one discovers that there’s something for everyone in and around Marbella; from subtle, understated luxury to downright decadence and bling. Art  and design are increasingly seen as imperative for villas that need to stand-out in a market full of impressive properties.

For perfection in interior design, look at Villa Zensei, offered by The Luxury Villa Collection. This is a private home of art lovers and is available for exclusive rental from £23,200 to £58,000 per week. For that guests get to be surrounded by an exceptional private art collection, and live within an über-sophisticated environment. This architect designed home includes a striking sculpture (‘The Pulse’) that runs up through the floors of the house – said to be worth more than a quarter of a million euros.

Private owners offer their investment villas for rental through agencies that specialise in high-end rentals. They take care of the bookings, the meet & greet, and deliver the personalised services that the clients demand. Yet when one says concierge service, this isn’t just getting tickets for a summer concert at Starlite; no ultra-luxury villa guest expects 24-hour access to services, where every whim and conceivable luxury is catered for; from providing private Michelin star chefs to rustle-up a sublime poolside lunch or gourmet dinner; delivering supercars; renting luxury yachts; offering fine jewellery for gala events; to even providing pets for the week!

The Mediterranean and its beaches is one of the biggest part of most people’s summer holidays in Andalucia – so little wonder that frontline villas are always in demand. Sandra Cernadas and her husband Philippe de Beaumot, founders of Empire Villas, specialise in villas on Marbella’s iconic Golden Mile. In their experience the location of the villas is almost more important than anything else, with frontline beach on the Golden Mile always in demand. They are also  seeing wellness as an important trend in luxury travel, with a growing demand for a ‘healthy home’ experience. They offer a 14 rooms Golden Mile Beach estate with its own private spa, gym wit professional equipment and a 28 metre heated pool, with the option for personal trainers and spa therapists.

Lindsay Gregory, Co-Founder and Curator at The Luxury Villa Collection, suggests Villa des Artes as a unique beachside villa. It might be one of the coast’s most expensive at £59,500 per week in peak season, but it has an infinity pool overlooking the sea, towards Morocco, and extraordinary interior design spaces fuelled with fine art. What’s more it’s offers easy access to the look-at-me summer beach clubs along the coast.

Yet many guests, such a the headliners of concerts such as Marbella’s Starlite, prefer the privacy of gated communities in the hills overlooking the coast. La Zagaleta, and El Madoñal are neighbourhoods synonymous the most stunning homes in Europe; where every detail is personalised to the guest, from monogrammed bed-linen, to helicopters waiting to whisk guests to Seville for a gourmet lunch, or to Granada for a private night tour of the Alhambra. It’s not just the marvellous mansions and the sunny skies that are attracting the super-rich guests – it’s the culture too.

Lindsay Gregory, whose Platinum Collections of rental villas includes homes once owned by British and Spanish Royalty, believes Marbella is setting a new benchmark for luxury villa experiences. ‘Our clients want to enjoy the highest standards of villa accommodation, lifestyle services like personal trainers, and private chefs; but they also want to stay somewhere where they have an incredibly rich culture on their doorstep, which Andalucia most certainly does, probably more than anywhere else in the Mediterranean!’

It’s hard to think of anywhere on the Mediterranean rivieras that can offer cultural cities like Cordoba, Seville, and Granada; the beauty of the sierra mountain natural parks; as well as the rural charm of Ronda and the Genal Valley; together with the beaches of Andalucia. Throw in the fine-dining restaurants, cool beach clubs and summer pop-up night clubs of the coast and one begins to see why Marbella is the luxury villa nexus of the Mediterranean.

La Zagaleta, to the north or Marbella’s San Pedro, in Benahavis was once a forested private hunting estate, and was also owned by the world’s richest man, the late Adnan Kashoggu. Now it is one of the world’s most exclusive real estate development with villas typical selling for 10s, 20s and 30i of millions of euros – and some for much more. Membership of the golf club here runs to almost 10,000 euros a month and just the monthly maintenance fees for a home is more than many people could dream to earn in a year. This discrete estate protected behind guarded gates is the summer home of many famous faces and is also a popular choice of the more extravagant villa rentals.

Security is something that is a major concern or the super-rich and the internationally famous. Marbella as a destination has decades of experience providing services tailored to the needs of these demanding guests. Lindsay Gregory continues, ‘Our guests are drawn to Marbella as it’s a destination geared up to welcoming VIP guests. We can provide exclusive experiences that are supported by elite security, and we can also offer private areas at beach club venues and in restaurants where guests can feel safe and protected from the paparazzi’.

Close to La Zagaleta is the residential estate of El Madronal, were classic hacienda and cortijo style villas are surrounded by pine and oak trees. It’s a favourite for decades with movie A-Listers within the movie and music industry.

With so many tempting homes and such specialist VIP concierge  services, Marbella is still enjoying a golden era travel, attracting internationally famous athletes, footballers, artists, movie stars and musicians. Yet you might not see them, as they ensconced in their private villas!




First published in the ‘Summer’s Here’ Magazine.

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